Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Holidays, 2016 in Review and 2017 Goals in One

Happy 2017 everyone!

I've been meaning to post something before the New Year but my schedule did not allow me to do so. I do not know what happened last holiday season but despite the fact that our school break came three days earlier, my schedule was more hectic than usual.   I actually was able to put up our tree ten days before Christmas whereas I usually make sure  it is up on the first of December.

I brought home around 180 exam papers to check and I still have ten unchecked papers.  I still have five gifts yet to wrap!  Please don't judge me now.  I know I am bad and I feel bad enough!

I am proud of the simple feast I laid out in front of my family though.

Noche Buena feast menu:

buttered garlic prawns with chili
macaroni salad
leche flan (Mom cooked this) and buko salad for dessert

Media Noche or New Year's Eve was spent with Ruel's family in Bulacan so I didn't have to cook.  I still made it a point to prepare something though because I was not used to not having anything special to eat after the festivities. :)   We had a family get together on my mother's side the following day.

Overall, I enjoyed every bit of the holidays, although everything flew by like a breeze.  I am thankful to 2016 for many things like family gatherings, dates with my husband, the best Mother's Day celebration I've had so far, going on a pilgrimage to churches with holy doors, my son's moving up from junior high, finally getting to watch Les Miserables, celebrating Sofia's first birthday, attending our high school jubilee homecoming, finding a new friend who is so much like me, celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary in Tagaytay, passing the licensure exam to become a financial advisor, getting a chance to write and direct a mini-play, receiving so many prizes during the institutional Christmas party,  celebrating Christmas and New Year with all the people I love best and so many others.

As I enter this new year, my heart is filled with gratitude,  HOPE and FAITH.  I hope, pray and believe that this year will be one of the best years I have ever had.

Happy 2017 dear readers and friends.  Here's to an awesome year -- a year full of hope, love, priceless moments, and wonderful surprises!  May God keep us all safe, bless  us with good health and grant us prosperity.  Cheers!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Twenty-second Letter to Sofia

Dearest Sofia,

Merry Christmas, my darling! I wish you were here to see the lights and to hear the sounds of Christmas. You would have loved this time of year, just like Mommy does. Do you know that it's my favorite time? It's during this time when Mommy and Daddy got married and it's also during this time when we first learned you were growing inside me! Christmas became more magical that year.  We were so happy and so filled with hope. How I wish I could bring back those moments when you were here and probably do some things differently, so that that this time, you could stay.

I have been in toy stores thrice this month. During those times I saw toys I would have bought for many cute toys you would have loved!

Daddy and I always think of you, always talk about you. We often make up conversations where you are included. Daddy always tries to imagine how you would probably react and how you would probably try to defend him every time he feels I am being unfair to him.  It's funny sometimes. Anyone who overhears our conversation would surely think you're alive. In a way, you still are and forever will be in the hearts of those who love you best-- Mommy, Daddy and Kuya.

I love you, baby.

Flying kisses to Heaven.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Celebrating Four Years of Happy-Ever-After

Four years have passed since Ruel and I started our happy-ever-after.  Our marriage, like most marriages, is far from perfect.  In those four years we have had our share of petty quarrels, the ups and downs that married people usually experience and the roller-coaster ride of emotions that couples having trouble conceiving usually feel.  It's been just four years and we already have three angels in Heaven. It's been  a hard four years, yes.  But generally, we have been happy.  There are a lot to be thankful for and to be celebrated.

We celebrated our wedding anniversary on the 2nd of December.  We initially promised to have a yearly celebration in the city where we were wed but I could not leave school last Friday due to the fact that another teacher in my area resigned from work and it would have been harder for the school if I filed a leave of absence.  

We had a simple dinner after school instead.

We went to Tagaytay the next day (the day after our wedding anniversary) to have a proper celebration.  And to me, a proper celebration will and should always include gazing at the Taal Volcano and its surrounding lake, and going to the the church where we were married.

Lunch buffet at the Veranda, Taal Vista Hotel

Four years, three angel babies and ten pounds heavier , here we are!

This is the church where we were wed, less the white building in the background.

We went back to the church to pray for more happy and healthy years together, for a healthy and normal baby and to be more financially stable.

And while we were on our way home,  we saw this rainbow.....I took it as a sign of HOPE, a sign of God's promise.

I look forward to a happier year, with many beautiful surprises and answered prayers, to a brighter future and to many more happy wedding anniversaries.

God is good all the time!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

High School Reunion: Remembering the Past, Celebrating the Present

It's funny how some things can change in a blink of an eye and how some can stay the same for decades.  I have not always been as confident and as self-assured as I am today.  When I was in grade school, I was super shy.  I was one of the most well-behaved girls in class.  I hated speaking in front of the class.  My teacher used to say, "louder" all the time whenever it was my turn to recite.   I stayed with my small circle of friends, who, like me, were also quiet and well-behaved.  We were the good girls in the front row and we didn't like mingling with the "cool" crowd who were usually the tall girls at the back.  We were intimidated by them. They were confident and popular.   We were short, quiet and maybe, to the tall girls at the back, we were dull.  I was more or less the same in high school.

Look for the shortest.  That's me.

with my best friend

our senior class....I'm the one on the second row, second girl from the right

It was only when I entered college when I decided it was time I stopped acting as if I was inferior to these type of girls. And since, it was a new school, a new environment, I took every opportunity to create a new me.  A new Claire was born.  As time passed, I grew in wisdom and confidence.  Since then, I have accepted my height, embraced my flaws, and have taken pride in what I know and in what I can do.  I have long stopped being intimidated by tall girls and bullies.  I am proud to say that I am one of the strongest women I know.

Last weekend, I attended our batch's Silver Jubilee Homecoming.  It's been 25 years since our high school graduation and it was time to "come home".  I was excited to see my batchmates but the feelings of inadequacy that left me a long time ago, suddenly came back and prevented me from joining the cool girls in the dance performance that I so wanted to join.  Somehow, I doubted if I would enjoy practicing with them-- girls  I never even exchanged more than one word with when I was in high school.

The homecoming turned out to be fun.  Many of my batchmates  were surprised at the way I spoke and laughed.  While I was different, many of them were still the same.  There were still the bullies who would push you when they thought you had to move or those who rolled their eyes at you every time they thought you were too slow to understand them.  There were still the bright girls who thought they had the right to order you around and reprimand you when they thought you were misbehaving.  And there were still the girls who didn't know anyone except for the girls in their own clique.

Homecoming was really like going back to high school except that the faces you see are older, and that there are so many faces and names that you don't remember anymore.

with one of the nicest girls in class....she had the most beautiful singing voice I have ever heard...I was her biggest fan in high school

with some of our teachers

Even though my closest friends were not able to attend the homecoming because they were abroad, I am still glad I made the right decision and attended the event.  I am now in the process of rebuilding old relationships and it feels so good.

There is so much wisdom to be learned in the past, so many childhood memories to be cherished and preserved. These are the things that made me who I am. It's because of the past that I have so many victories and so much to be thankful for and to be celebrated  in the present.